Safe Routes to School is a national and international movement to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from school. The goal is to reverse the decline in children walking and bicycling to schools. Safe Routes to School can also play a critical role in reversing the alarming nationwide trend toward childhood obesity and inactivity.
Safe Routes to School programs are built on collaborative partnerships among many stakeholders and should include educators, parent, students, elected officials, engineers, city planners and engineers, business and community leaders, health officials, and bicycle and pedestrian advocates.
The most successful Safe Routes to School programs incorporate the Five E's: evaluation, education, encouragement, engineering and enforcement. The goal of Safe Routes to School is to get more children bicycling and walking to schools safely on an everyday basis. This improves the built environment and increases opportunities for healthy physical activity for everyone.
In 1969, approximately 50% of children in the US walked or bicycled to school, with approximately 87% of children living within one mile of school walking or bicycling. Today, fewer than 15% of school children walk or bicycle to school. As a result, kids today are less active, less independent and less healthy.